Hi mini-women! Hannah, here. Can you believe this is almost our last post in the series? I have loved reading and writing these – and I think this one is my favorite. It’s a good verse to pick apart, in my opinion.
“Whatever is excellent and praiseworthy, think on those things.”
What comes to mind when you think of excellence or something that ought to be praised? A 102% on a math test? A home run with the bases loaded? The first prize in a singing contest?
We would say congratulations to all of those people, and we’d be right to do so! And yet, as always, Paul is calling us to think deeper.
See, this verse (this whole verse, not just the part we’re talking about today) is all about shifting focus. About stopping yourself from thinking of your worries and your fears and your insecurities and re-focusing to think on what is pure, lovely, and so on.
When you’ve been having a rough time in math, or at your baseball or choir practice, sometimes it can be hard to think about succeeding (being excellent or praiseworthy) in those things!
“I don’t even want to think about a home run, I just want to hit the ball and be able to get to first base without being tagged out EVERY single game.” Or “That other girl has had private voice lessons since she was three, why should I even bother trying out for the solo?”
I know you girls have probably had these thoughts before, and so have I! When we only value ourselves on what we can do, on our excellent and praiseworthy talents, we can feel like we fall short. All. The. Time.
We have to re-teach ourselves to define excellence and praiseworthiness in a different way.
Excellence is being the best person you can be. Pushing yourself to your OWN limits, not the limits that someone else said you should meet.
This means that you are excellent when doing that thing that is perfect for you. You may not ever slug a home run over the fence, but it could turn out that you’re amazing at soccer. Or vice versa. Being excellent means finding that talent, that niche, that hobby that you EXCEL in like crazy. And not trying to fit yourself in someone else’s Excellent Box.
Praiseworthy is being someone who people speak highly of, and with great respect.
This is a whole lot more important than your talents. This is about focusing on your inner self and making sure you’re a person who is worthy of praise- not because of what you can do, but because of who you are.
It really matters a lot more to God that you sit next the girl whose voice cracked in her audition and give her a hug, than you going on stage and wowing everyone with your amazing voice. Don’t get me wrong – talent is great and should be admired! It just shouldn’t be what we focus on.
(P.S. Besides, who likes a talented person who acts like a total snob? You’ll be remembered for years for your kindness to others, far longer than people
photo by Asher
remembering you being a showstopper in the school play. Admit it girls – it’s true!)
It’s a great thing to be excellent and praiseworthy. Let’s just make sure it’s for the BEST reasons, and focus on it that way.
In your Talking to God journals this week, have a chat with God about how you’d like to be remembered.
For what talent, for what nice thing you did for someone, for what characteristic? Discuss with Him what is the most important, excellent, praiseworthy thing you ought to work towards.
And in your comments, tell me one thing about yourself that you would call excellent or praiseworthy. Don’t worry girls, this isn’t bragging! You know this blog is Honesty Central; we’ve all talked about our flaws plenty of times. Now I want you to think about the part of you and your personality that you feel really happy about.